Linda Cotter Designs

Surfers, Gratitude and Goal Setting

What are you grate­ful for?  Have you set some goals for 2012?  What do surfers have to do with it?

I want to share a short video with you that will help start think­ing about what you want to accom­plish in 2012.


30 Days to Fun Challenge

Ideas to get the fun back in your life so you can think more cre­atively and be more pro­duc­tive in your business.

Clear a Space ~ Practice Patience

Clear a Space

Spring is here and I find myself clean­ing and clear­ing things!  There is some­thing won­der­ful that Spring allows me every year, it’s like a gift to me.  It’s that won­der­ful sig­nal to renew, refresh and revitalize.

Here in Redondo Beach, the com­ing of spring is rather sub­tle, unlike in my home­town of Van­cou­ver, B.C. where it smiles brightly after a long gray win­ter. Throw­ing col­or­ful flow­ers from the ground with great glee.

The weather at the beach is usu­ally so mild that it seems Spring slides in quite qui­etly.  It is, how­ever, always lovely.  The rain trans­forms the once brown hills into beau­ti­ful shades of green.  And in another month, the hills close to where I live will be cov­ered in pink and yel­low flow­ers. Sim­ply beautiful!

So I say, take a deep breath of fresh air and clear the clut­ter, straighten your closet, clear your desk and office and make room for some­thing new.

New ideas. New ways of doing things.  New thoughts.  New ways to play.  New ways to incor­po­rate your dreams and goals into your every­day life.  An unclut­tered work­space will give you a fresh perspective.

Prac­tice Patience

Have you been feel­ing impa­tient with your­self lately? Are you feel­ing like you are not get­ting enough done every day, that things are in chaos and that the stress is really get­ting to you? One way to han­dle this stress and chaotic atmos­phere is to prac­tice patience, espe­cially with yourself.

The power of patience is absolutely extra­or­di­nary. It will help you trans­form sit­u­a­tions and cir­cum­stances that you might think are des­tined for dis­as­ter. This is not always easy to do, espe­cially when the com­puter is mis­be­hav­ing, some­one cuts you off in traf­fic and you feel like you’ve really goofed up on some­thing important.

This is the time to take a deep breath and just stop for a moment.  Learn to ignore  the things you can­not change and con­cen­trate on things that can make a dif­fer­ence.  Know that patience helps us make bet­ter deci­sions and appre­ci­ate the things that do go well.

Eas­ier said than done, you say? Per­haps, but as with any­thing, prac­tice helps.  Peo­ple around you will be amazed.



What I Learned From 6th Graders

What I Learned From 6th Graders

I had the oppor­tu­nity to speak to a group of 6th grade girls last week about Pos­si­bil­ity Think­ing. When I asked the class what they thought pos­si­bil­ity think­ing meant, I got some pretty savvy answers.  It was very inspir­ing to expe­ri­ence the fresh­ness of their per­spec­tive. They were inquis­i­tive, inter­ested and had the lovely qual­ity of inno­cence and opti­mism. I was reminded to view the world with more optimism.

So what is Pos­si­bil­ity Think­ing? It starts with pos­i­tive think­ing but goes beyond that. While it is impor­tant to think pos­i­tively, it is equally impor­tant to go beyond and become aware that there are pos­si­bil­i­ties in every sit­u­a­tion, good or bad.   It is about view­ing life as more than just a strug­gle to sur­vive, but see­ing the many excit­ing chal­lenges and oppor­tu­ni­ties that help you thrive.  It’s all about per­spec­tive.  These girls reminded me to keep per­spec­tive and that this way of think­ing is empow­er­ing and transformative.

When I was think­ing about what I might share with them, I recalled an inspir­ing speech I heard by Sean Stephen­son.  Sean Stephen­son is an amaz­ing man.  I had the oppor­tu­nity to sit and chat with him last year after his speech.  Priceless!

This excerpt is from his web­site: “Expected to die at birth, Sean Stephen­son faced an army of rea­sons to give up and count­less oppor­tu­ni­ties to embrace pity. He suf­fered more than 200 bone frac­tures by age 18, reached a height of only 3 feet, and is per­ma­nently con­fined to a wheel­chair. How­ever, this man took a stand for a qual­ity of life that has inspired mil­lions of peo­ple around the world, includ­ing Tony Rob­bins and Pres­i­dent Clinton.”

I told the girls some of Sean’s story and how, against great odds, he still believed that any­thing was pos­si­ble.  They were amazed.  And I real­ized that with the sim­ple act of lis­ten­ing to the story, they were already start­ing to think in a dif­fer­ent way.  It was a good reminder for me too! It’s an amaz­ing and inspi­ra­tional story. I rec­om­mend that you take a look at Sean’s book, “Get Off Your But”.  I also learned that I needed to pick it up again for a refresher!

I talked to the girls about how impor­tant it is to think out of the box, which is some­times hard to do when you are stand­ing inside the box.  They reminded me that as an adult I have my own spe­cial set of lim­it­ing beliefs! And these beliefs are in my head, they don’t need to be real unless I allow them to be.

We did an exer­cise involv­ing Super Heroes.  I was inspired by my friend Lori Grayson,, to use super heroes as an oppor­tu­nity to allow the girls the free­dom to think out of the box, to be what­ever they wanted, have any spe­cial power, wear what they wanted.

It was a beau­ti­ful unfold­ing of dreams.  Col­or­ful super heroes doing amaz­ing things came to life, right there in the class­room. The girls were excited to see the pos­si­bil­i­ties in their own lives by draw­ing on their own unique tal­ents. They expressed super pow­ers of fly­ing, play­ing music to calm peo­ple, and pow­ers to heal the world.

So take some time this week to think about your super hero per­sona.  What would your mag­i­cal pow­ers be, what could you do to change the world, if only in a small way?

Craig Kiel­burger was 12 when he founded Free the Chil­dren.  I’ve learned a lot from these 6th graders in the past week. They have inspired, chal­lenged and reminded me that when we allow our­selves the space to dream, mir­a­cles do hap­pen every day.


Passion and the Frog

I read a story a long time ago about a frog find­ing his true love.  It was a vari­a­tion of the old fairy­tale about the Princess and the Frog.  His pas­sion to find his true love was very admirable. He was sin­gle­minded and opti­mistic. He per­se­vered through dashed hopes and seem­ingly insur­mount­able obsta­cles.  He over­came them all, because he was passionate.

He never doubted he would find her.  And, of course, he did.  Her kiss trans­formed him back into a prince and just as in the fairy­tale, they lived hap­pily ever after.  It was the search for her, of course, that really trans­formed him, not the kiss.

We all have dreams. But what is it that causes one per­son to real­ize one’s dreams and another to only dream them?  I believe it’s pas­sion; and it’s pas­sion that fuels our dreams.

So what is the dif­fer­ence between Pur­pose and Pas­sion?  I think that pur­pose defines why we are here. Some refer to pur­pose as a call­ing, oth­ers as one’s “life’s work.” But pas­sion is the energy–emotional, phys­i­cal, men­tal, often spiritual–that dri­ves and sup­ports us to focus our efforts on our dreams.

Do you know what your pur­pose is? Have you lost your pas­sion? Some of you may already know or remem­ber what your pur­pose is, some of you may not. Either way, it’s impor­tant to reignite and nur­ture your pas­sion for it.

There is some­thing you do for a liv­ing and then there is the thing you were born to do.  The thing you were born to do is most often the thing you are or could be most pas­sion­ate about. But often we don’t remem­ber what that is or don’t believe we can accom­plish or even under­stand it’s true value.

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Com­puter said the fol­low­ing at a com­mence­ment address: “You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly sat­is­fied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep look­ing. Don’t set­tle. As with all mat­ters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great rela­tion­ship, it just gets bet­ter and bet­ter as the years roll on. So keep look­ing until you find it. Don’t settle.”

I’d like to offer you some ques­tions that, when con­sid­ered, will help you remem­ber what your pur­pose and pas­sion might be.  Please take some time to answer the following:

  1. What did you used to LOVE to do before mar­riage, kids, your job, but are not doing now?
  2. What inter­est or desire that you think you can’t have or do, are you most afraid of admit­ting to your­self and others?
  3. What qual­ity do you love most about yourself?
  4. Who do you know that’s doing some­thing you’d like to do? Describe your­self doing it.

Find some time, and write down your answers.  I think you might be sur­prised at what you write.

If you are hav­ing a hard time with this, don’t worry.  It will come to you.  I love Eliz­a­beth Gilbert’s story of her friend Sarah who said “don’t worry about fol­low­ing your pas­sion for a while.  Just fol­low your curios­ity instead.”

Your Dream Needs Chocolate

When was the last time you gave your­self per­mis­sion to look at your dreams? Do you have a big, fat dream that you keep hid­den away?  Or have you put it so far out of your mind that it’s stand­ing on a nar­row ledge wait­ing to leap into the void?

Nourish Your Dreams

Dare to be feisty.  Maybe even plucky.  Grab your dream from the precipice and haul it back in.  Keep it close to you where you can see it and remem­ber it.  Don’t let any­one steal it, espe­cially you. Nur­ture it and treat it with kindness.

Dreams are incred­i­bly valu­able com­modi­tiesbecause they pro­pel us for­ward and give us energy. They even make us enthu­si­as­tic about life again. If you aren’t sure you have a dream you want to pur­sue,take some time to develop one. Call me.  I can help you remember.

You can start small if you like, but do dare to dream again.  Get out your jour­nal or a piece of paper andtake time to explore, artic­u­late and iden­tify your heart’s desire. Come up with one dream every­day for the next seven days.  You will be amazed how you feel in one week.

As actress Josie Bis­set remarked, “Dreams come a size too big so we can grow into them.”

So give your­self per­mis­sion to look at your big, fat dream and don’t be afraid to grow into it.

Creativity~What’s Tea Got to Do With It?

I was drink­ing a cup of tea the other day, from the Repub­lic of Tea. I have had many cups of this par­tic­u­lar tea in the past, but never really noticed the label before. Yes, I thought it was pretty and invit­ing, and I liked the fact that it was in a small round metal tin, but I had never read the side of the label. That day, I did.The first time I drank the tea was at Esalen in Big Sur, California. There I met a lovely woman I am still friends with. She bought me this teacup.

It read:

Black­berry Sage, Tea For Wisdom

I say you can trace the whole mess on this planet to the fact that we lose our­selves in ideas for liv­ing while life awaits us to inhabit it. Tea is not an idea, but the end of all ideas. With a sin­gle sip the cloud of busy mind is made to pass and the light of life breaks through to show us what we have kept con­cealed from our­selves all along.”

Hmmm, pretty pro­found for tea! And I thought, Cre­ativ­ity is not an idea, but the end (and begin­ning) of all ideas. And sim­ply allow­ing a small, con­sis­tent amount of cre­ative time, shows us who we are and helps us remem­ber what we really want. Don’t under­es­ti­mate the power of allow­ing your cre­ativ­ity to give you the space to play and to let solu­tions and inner call­ings emerge.

The month of Jan­u­ary is always a time of renewal for me. It actu­ally starts in Decem­ber and flows into the first few weeks of the year. Not a renewal, like spring, but a renewal of my com­mit­ment to my fam­ily, my work and myself. Renew­ing my pas­sion and purpose.

Why not take a few min­utes to renew your pas­sion by sim­ply doo­dling on a piece of paper, writ­ing in your jour­nal, snap­ping some pic­tures, or col­or­ing in a col­or­ing book. I think you will find your­self smil­ing when you do. Who knows what could emerge?

Back to the Beach

I am so for­tu­nate to live very close to the ocean.  So there is no excuse for me not to get out there and get some exer­cise!  But I’ve found a mil­lion!  The hol­i­days always seem to be the biggest, don’t they?  So I’ve made the deci­sion.  It’s back to the beach and on my bike.  I’ve done this first thing, early in the morn­ing the past few days. And it feels wonderful.

Like any­thing, it just takes a deci­sion and most often mak­ing that deci­sion is harder than rid­ing the bike.  Look­ing at the ocean and feel­ing the breeze on my face…fabulous!

What is your delightful purpose?

For most of my life, I have found myself in the posi­tion of help­ing oth­ers feel com­fort­able. Not so much com­fort­able with me, but with them­selves. I’m fas­ci­nated that each of us has our own unique story, our own unique set of inter­ests, moti­va­tions, dreams and pas­sions. I love to hear these sto­ries and to help peo­ple re-discover their dreams and passions—get that twin­kle back in their eyes.

We were all born with a pur­pose, yet so many of us have been so busy on the fast track of life, that we have for­got­ten to give our­selves time to just BE and lis­ten to what our hearts are yearn­ing for.

So take a moment to be still. It doesn’t have to be a long time.  Per­haps 10 min­utes. Think with your heart instead of your head and allow that whis­per of your inner call­ing to become loud enough for you to hear.

My Gift to You

Stop. Think. Be Inspired.

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